Below are answers to some of the more common questions we receive from new patients seeking the help of a psychologist or therapist at our Baltimore office. If you don’t see the answer to a question you may have, please feel free to contact us.
How often should I expect to come and how long does therapy last?
The length of a therapy session is typically 45 minutes. In most cases, therapy sessions are conducted on a once per week basis. Since weekly sessions are typically covered by most insurance plans, more frequent sessions can be considered depending on the acuteness of the problem and ones financial status. As the course of therapy moves toward its conclusion, the weeks in between sessions may be increased. Statistically, the average course of therapy at PCA is approximately 15 sessions. Duration of therapy is related to the severity and chronicity of the presenting problem as well as the goals of therapy.
How do I know what kind of therapy will be of most help to me?
Research has shown that different types of therapy have many important features in common. Successful therapy is highly related to the quality of ones relationship with their therapist. The patient should feel understood, secure and totally accepted by the therapist. In addition to ones comfort level, the patient should also feel stimulated and challenged in their therapy endeavor.
In a general way, therapies that focus on understanding the rationality of ones thoughts, as they relate to feelings and actions, (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Rational Emotive Therapy) are more structured and shorter term. These approaches work best in such problem areas as phobia and panic disorder, depression, alcohol and substance abuse, and couples conflicts.
Psychodynamic therapies, which also focus on an understanding of how past issues in ones life influence present situations are less structured and may be longer in duration. These approaches work best in addressing personality problems, relationship issues and dysfunctional family concerns.
If I am having problems in my relationship with my mate, should I seek individual or couples therapy?
This decision will be addressed by your therapist, early in the course of your treatment. Your therapist will assess if the presenting problems are more a reflection of relationship difficulties or more from individual issues with either you or your mate. This decision as to therapeutic modality is a flexible one. Therapy may begin with a couples format, and, over time, it may be more useful to focus on individual problem areas. Conversely, one may start with individual therapy, and, as therapy progresses, couples work may be of benefit.
Will psychotropic medication be beneficial for me?
Studies indicate that a variety of problems are best addressed with a combination of psychotropic medication along with psychotherapy. Our therapists work in a collaborative way with your doctor and/or your psychiatrist to maximize the effectiveness of the medication and the psychotherapy. Your therapist will help you in the assessment of the need for medication.
How can I better understand my child’s behavior and learning problems in school?
Many times, students present with a number of issues such as having difficulty attending to and finishing tasks, easily misplacing or forgetting things, having problems organizing school assignments and starting many things, but getting few finished. These concerns may be reflective of problems in cognitive functioning, indications of an attention deficit disorder, a learning disability, or a general developmental delay. These concerns may also reflect the presence of a mood disorder or situational stress. It is not uncommon for several factors to be intertwined in the above mentioned problem areas. In our practice, our psychologists perform psychological assessment batteries to help clarify these issues.
Will therapy be helpful if I am drinking alcohol excessively?
While therapy will be of some help in this situation, the drinking problem must be addressed as a primary focus of the therapy. Therapy works best if alcohol usage is stopped. Cutting down or stopping drinking is the initial goal of the treatment. Please review the Verge program on this web site.
What services will be covered by my health insurance?
Mental health benefits are typically included with the majority of health insurance policies. The amount of coverage will depend on the individual policy. Policies will vary as to the deductible to be met and the amount of copay. Copays are expected at the time of the therapy session. Insurance accepted from the following companies: Aetna, Alliance, APS, Blue Choice, BC/BS, Carefirst, Compsych, ECH, Fidelity, Future Care, Kaiser, Magellan, MAMSI, UBH, Value Options.
What should I do if I don’t have health insurance?
If you do not have insurance or mental health benefits, you can still make an appointment. Please call our office at 410-828-6062 for information about self payment options. Some therapists conduct 45 minute sessions, while others use a full hour. Testing and psychological evaluations are charged by the hour and our administrative staff will explain what these specific costs. At any time during your therapy, should you acquire insurance benefits, we will add this information to your file and apply to future visits.